Ghosting isn’t just for Hallowe’en (although it flippin’ should be)
There is nothing like finding out a new term that seems to have completely passed you by to make you feel really old. This happens to me with more and more frequency, although as I am way older than your average ‘LOL’ user (which I loathe using) I am not actually bothered. But then I heard about the term ‘ghosting’, and realised, whether I liked it or not, I was actually experiencing a new term.
Ghosting – it transpires, is a ‘new’ 21st century verb that refers to ending a romantic relationship by cutting off all contact and ignoring the former partner’s attempts to reach out. In more simple terms: good, old fashioned rudeness. A survey from Elle magazine that polled 185 people found that about 16.7 percent of men and 24.2 percent of women had been ghosts at some point in their lives. As I get deeper and deeper into the dating game, and explore all mediums (pardon the pun) I find myself Ghosted more and more frequently.
The very enthusiastic, and very cute, man that started mailing me made my pulse race. He ticked a lot of boxes… he was moving to a nearby town from London and seemed keen to keep in contact. We exchanged a flurry messages and I anticipated him asking me to meet him once he had found his feet. All was quiet for a while – I had given him my phone number but nothing was heard from him. I wished him luck with his move. I hoped he had settled in OK. I hoped all was well…? The silence across the internet was palpable. Had I imagined this man? Wasn’t he really complimentary and seemingly keen? What the hell had happened? The only feasible reason, in my head, was that he had suffered some ghastly fate that had prevented him from contacting me… Death was really the only polite excuse!
This example of course, is just somebody that had been merely messaging – we hadn’t even met at this point. Whilst he may have seemed enthusiastic initially, perhaps there was someone else that was more suitable than me; an ex flame reignited; or perhaps just a change of heart. These are all acceptable excuses, but I do think in this situation you should just thank someone for your time, and state simply that you are not actually a match after all. It certainly would save a lot of wondering and waiting for a reply. Moreover, it’s the ghosting once a relationship that has started up that is more unforgiveable and less likely to be understood.
Friends of mine have reported on someone that they have been dating simply dropping out of their lives and seemingly spirited into the night. This is both puzzling and rude – leaving the victim of ghosting confused as to what they did wrong to deserve this silent treatment. As for the ghosters themselves, I think the main reason for this behaviour is a lack of awareness of how else to extricate from relationships. People who fade away do so out of a desperate need to be loved, and harbour a fear of disappointment if they continue to drag out a relationship that they are not committed to continuing. To simply disappear avoids all messy, human emotion that is an intrinsic part of real, functioning relationships.
We live in an age when technology can provide the façade of contact and emotional intimacy – drawing you closer to someone you may actually know very little about. Be aware that this same device of creating connections can easily be shut down and withdrawn, leaving the other person feeling lost and haunted by what has, or hasn’t happened. Ghosting – it’s actually rudeness dressed up.